In Defence Of Patrick Harvie (The Thoughts Of An SNP Activist).

Hey Readers It was with a sense of bemusement that I saw some on the more fundamentalist wing of my party express what I can only describe as their self righteous anger at the fact that the six Green Party MSP’s did not vote for Nicola Sturgeon in her ultimately successful bid to be re-elected as First Minister of Scotland.  The fact the party did not vote for her opponent Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and instead choose to  abstain  seems to have been conveniently ignored by those concerned

Let me say that I do approve of this kind of politics it is not my way of doing things and though I may have got a wee bit tribal during the referendum it was mainly because I had to as I was faced with hostility which was based on my gender identity and my perceived religious beliefs by some of the less enlightened unionists. These however are different times and Scotland has returned more towards party politics rather than a politics of
causes and campaigns which dominated Scotland in the two years leading up to the referendum vote.

The fact that some people on both sides of the divide haven’t yet moved on is something which personally I find very sad especially when those doing the sniping are taking cheap shots against a party with which many SNP supporters have a healthy degree of affinity. This is why I as an SNP member have decided to write this post in defence of Patrick Harvie a principled politician I admire and respect

It is with some degree of sadness that I have to say that some of the comments I viewed on my twitter feed regarding Patrick’s decision not to support Nicola in her vote to be re-elected First Minister were to say the very least annoying. I found the anger directed at Patrick to be both unjustified and offensive.  The idea that somehow the SNP supporters who voted green on the list loaned the greens their votes and that means that Patrick and his fellow MSP’s must therefore back Nicola on every vote is to my mind ridiculous and does nothing to advance  the cause of independence, a cause on which the greens stood shoulder to shoulder with my party two years ago and as they will again when the comes. In the meantime, we should respect the fact that the greens are and an independent party who are under no obligation to the SNP be it leadership or voters. 

You see I have a real problem with this kind of high handed attitude from SNP supporters and I’ll explain why. To me the cause of independence means nothing if it is not about building a better nation and doing so on the four pillars of equality, diversity, fairness, and inclusion. The key to this Scotland is the acceptance of all shades of political traditions even those we profoundly disagree with to quote the words of Voltaire ‘ I disagree with what you say but will defend until death your right to say it ‘. This to me is what true freedom is about and the right to make our choices is a fundamental part of any truly free society. 

Now I won’t lie and say that I wouldn’t have liked Patrick Harvie and his colleagues to have voted for Nicola Sturgeon yesterday. I mean let’s be honest I would have liked Willie Rennie to have voted for Nicola yesterday but I live in the real world and therefore accept that that you can’t always get what you want on every occasion If you could I would have been married to Donny Osmond since the 11th July 1981 the year of my 20th Birthday I would have at least 10 children, Childbirth would be pain for every woman men would have time of the month plus interest,  Celtic would have won so many league  championships and European Cups it would actually be embarrassing, an independent Scotland and fully united Ireland would be the two richest countries on earth, no-one would ever go blind, or be in any sort of pain and all our dreams would come true every day of our lives. Tragically such a world is not possible if it were I would be a Scottish version of Marilyn Monroe with a bit of s Madonna thrown in to the mix for good measure. That however is a wish list, the stuff of dreams and to me at least wish lists are the preserve of poets and idealists.
Meanwhile in the adult world of politics, people are often forced to make some more realistic choices in which they will hopefully be guided by value based principles as Patrick and his colleagues were on this occasion.

The fact he and his party choose to abstain rather than vote for Nicola shows that whilst both he and his party’s wider membership may admire many of her personal qualities including her style of leadership he does not believe that the SNP are friendly enough to the environment on the issues that matter to green party members to  merit his party’s support just yet. This decision was not a personal slight on Nicola Sturgeon nor was it an insult to the SNP it was a balanced verdict made on behalf of the party he leads. 

I make this point because I believe it needs to made and made loudly and clearly. Despite what some zealots may like to believe the SNP does not own the yes movement nor does it own the votes of the yes movement. The yes movement that glorious movement of which I was so proud to be a part was and remains are diverse movement in which people from all political hues were and must continue to be made welcome. I state this purely because if we spend two and a half years attempting to and in my opinion succeeding in convincing the people of our country that voting yes was not a vote for the SNP or my party’s then leader Alex Salmond we can hardly say now oh we’ve changed on our mind on this and all yes voters must vote yes as an article of faith.  This is not the way to win friends and influence potential voters in fact to go down this road could lose the cause of independence votes which people like me fought far too hard to win and I’ll be damn well dead before I let that happen. 

It is in my opinion very good news for the long term aim of independence that greens did make the decision to abstain in this vote as proves to the unionists that you can have two or indeed more parties on the yes of the independence movement who may have very different visions of what they want the future independent Scotland to be like.

Finally I say to those who would criticise the actions of Patrick Harvie and the Green MSP’s take a step back and think for a minute. I have often supported you when you have said that the pro unionist parties in Scotland are no more than branch offices of their UK parties who will always put the needs of Westminster before the people of Scotland. So having said that I now ask you this do you want to give the unionists the chance to say to the voters of our country that the Scottish Green Party are no more than a branch office of the SNP who will put the electoral needs of the SNP before the greater concerns of how best to protect the environment.  I know I don’t and I don’t think you do either. Let’s celebrate the differences that make our yes family such a great inclusive place to be and remember that even the closest of families won’t agree on everything and that is exactly how
It should be

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X


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